When I speak to people in my electorate of Lalor and in the west of Melbourne, the most important issue is jobs. People are incredibly concerned about prospects for their children and for themselves when it comes to employment into the future.
Yesterday, I met with LeadWest, a critical organisation that works in the west of Melbourne with an advocacy role in bringing to the attention of governments, state and federal, issues around employment. Staff raised with me the $90 million Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Program being delivered by the federal government and the state government. The first-round grants have been announced and it is with sadness that I report that, with $27 million being given out in those grants, none of that money is going to land in the west of Melbourne at this stage. I hope that, in round 2, we can set up some way for our businesses in the west to be supported in these grants. Where we are faced with the potential loss of 14,000 jobs through the loss of car and components manufacturing, we are looking desperately for some of these funds to generate new manufacturing industry in the west of Melbourne. This is incredibly important.